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Meditation will hurt

imageIf you’re a seasoned yogi/HC meditator, by now you should be aware that meditation is not always the nice ride you thought it was. Maybe you’ve already traversed the deep meditative states known as jhanas and, after the blissful sensations they reveal, you still haven’t felt pain and tension. If this is the case, good.

If not, here’s my little contribution to the much needed written materials on how to deal with pain revealed by the practice of meditation. This is not a definite solution. It is just a list of conditions and circumstances that I’ve found to be the cause of physical pain.

Also, I am not speaking of injuries or other serious medical conditions. Those can only be dealt with proper medical treatment. I’m referring to the tension/pain that arises when we open up with our awareness and, if we work with it with right view, then it is liberated naturally. It seems to me that the tension felt in different places in the body, is not due to some underlying energy that decided to cause pain. In my opinion, based from experience, the headaches, jaw tension, the lump in your throat, pressure in the chest, back/neck/shoulders pain, between the eyes, saturation of  “electricity” in the stomach, and all the other unpleasant sensations that come up when meditating, are nothing more than mental intentions/orders/instructions/decrees/reactions/stubborn desires that have ran amok throughout the body.

So here’s a small list of such instances that I have found to cause pain when sitting.

Meditation will hurt when:

  • I want to control it.
  • I cling to an outcome that’s supposed to happen.
  • I continue to meditate when I know I’m supposed to be doing something else.
  • I cling to the conceptual characteristics of physical reality, like for instance: solidity, distance, and volume of my organs, bones, fluids, organic tissue, skin, etc.
  • I believe I am doing something wrong and I must correct it.
  • I believe I am someone, different from everybody else.
  • I cling stubbornly to the story of my life and who I am.
  • I fear losing reason.
  • I fear losing physical references.
  • I fear death.
  • I fear life.
  • I don’t sleep when I need to.
  • I don’t eat when I need to.

Meditation will not hurt when:

  • I lose control of it all.
  • I give up all preconceptions of what’s supposed to happen.
  • I stop doing sitting meditation when the time is right, and continue doing the chores I’m supposed to do.
  • I drop concepts of physical reality.
  • I quit trying to correct all “imperfections”.
  • I drop the “self” concept AND drop also the things I consider not to be “self”
  • I realize the story of my life is just another arbitrary conceptual construction and drop it.
  • I’m ok with losing reason and logic
  • I’m ok with losing all physical references.
  • I’m ok with living and dying.
  • I sleep when I need to, and I eat when I need to.

There’s more to it of course but, this will do to give you just a hint. I will also add that, in time, if you receive teachings and continue practice with appropriate moderation, the pain will subside.